Compulsive behavior: Does my dog present this pathology?

Does your dog continually chase his tail? Is any part of the body excessively licked? Does it seem that he hunts flies that do not exist continuously? These are some of the symptoms that your dog can present in case of suffering a compulsive disorder, although the complexity of the pathology requires the help of your veterinarian for its correct diagnosis.

The origin of the pathology is due to different factors, including:

  • Genetic factors: Effectively, there is a racial predisposition to present different compulsive disorders; German Shepherd (biting his tail giving circles), Border Collie (Visual fixings), Pinscher (suction of the flanks) …
  • Ethological factors: Normally they are due to our pet suffering stress, some conflict and / or certain frustrations.
  • Factors due to another disease: Certain pathologies can encourage the appearance of compulsive disorders; Problems in neurotransmitters, hormonal problems, allergies, pain ..

These factors can cause that our dog shows a pattern of repetitive behavior which we really think that does not have any sense. GIf we suspect of compulsive behavior, it is necessary to act quickly. Otherwise, it may happen that over time the cause that causes such behavior disappears and the animal continues with the compulsive behavior.

Regardless of their origin (Etiology), compulsive behaviors are classified according to their manifestation in:

  • Oral: In them the mouth participates; Excessive licking, sucking the flank, catching flies …
  • Locomotors: In them actively participate the extremities; Spinning on itself, wandering behavior, jumping in the same place continuously …
  • Aggression: Attacking objects, biting oneself …
  • Vocalizations: We see a continuous and persistent barking and/or moaning as a manifestation of compulsive behavior.
  • Hallucinatory: Unjustified startles, fixed gaze to certain points…

Imagen de veterinario sugetando dos mascotas

The treatment of compulsive behavior should be controlled by your veterinarian and among other resources depending on the case we can choose:

  • Eliminate the cause of stress, frustration and / or conflict that causes compulsive behavior.
  • Eliminate the reinforcement of compulsive behavior caused unconsciously by the owner himself.
  • Eliminate the disease that causes it (pain, hormones …).
  • Eliminate the application of punishment to the animal.
  • Stimulate the exercise.
  • Application of specific drugs: Clomipramine, fluoxetine …
  • Anticipate to the compulsive disorder and reward alternative behaviors (take care not reinforce the compulsive disorder itself).

Whatever you think,  we remind you to always visit your veterinarian.

Manel Morcillo Giner

Veterinario

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